Over the Christmas break we visited the British Museum, ostensibly for our 6YO to see more of the Chessmen after seeing Chessman Unmasked exhibition in Stornoway last summer, but every visit is made with the secret hope that something OH or I uncovered in our digging days will have found its way onto display. This is highly unlikely because the only truly great object I ever found went ping and shattered when i stuck my mattock in it - Anglo-Saxon glass, fragile stuff you know.
In the BM I stumbled upon the small temporary exhibition showcasing Hokusai's "Under the Wave, off Kanagawa" (now ended). As well as the chance to have a good close look at this iconic print (one of thousands apparently, but an early and so sharp impression) the exhibition included film footage of a contemporary Japanese printmaker using the traditional woodblocks and ink. I was interested to see him use a very watery colour medium applied with a large brush, quite different from the stiff oil-based inks I use for lino prints, and worth further investigation I think.
Inevitably seeing all that gorgeous prussian blue ink being splashed about has had its influence on my printing, firstly on a new print, the Demoiselle Crane and also on a new batch of Giant's Causeway prints. I had been planning to replicate the original batch to complete the edition (I rarely print a whole edition at once - just not enough time) as these had been popular and nearly sold out. The original version really reflects the landscape as I saw it back in December 2010, when the sun couldn't quite raise itself above the north facing cliffs so that even at midday those dark basalt columns stood in their shadows.
This time round I used a lot less black in the mix and this really lets the blue sing out, tempered only by white, some transparent extender and a smudge of indigo. The result has quite a different atmosphere so i'll be calling it #2.